I'm certainly a fan of feline mystique even having grown up with only dogs. My theory has always been God made big cats, took one look at them and said, "Son-of-bitch! I gotta make smaller versions of those because they are just too too cool!" Animal gifts! They do a soul good. I certainly can testify to that.
I knew there was supposed to be a place about an hour from Dallas that was a cat sanctuary but was unable to locate it when I tried years ago. Luckily, I came across an article in the paper on tours at the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE). Was a gorgeous day and I jumped in my car to see the big cats in person. They did not disappoint.
The tour guide was very informative (as you can hear on the video). Some of the lions have been featured on reality TV shows. One is especially famous for his long teeth like a sabre tooth tiger. One trick they like to do is throw cardboard boxes with chicken bones over the fence and watch them devour. You can hear them crunch in the video ("Same density as human bones!" informs the guide). But the desire to grab them and hold them and check out their fascinating faces is overwhelming at times.
But these guys are killing machines, programmed for the hunt. Small children are warned not to run in front of the cats even outside of the cages. It triggers an instinct and the predators might rush the fence. Their power is hard to comprehend without experiencing it firsthand. At the end of the tour is a tug of war contest between humans and a lion (also in video). Hint: don't bet on the humans.
Animals are blessings to make our lives richer. I always loved John Lennon but I loved him even more when I read once he finally settled down late in life and knew he was going to have a home, first thing he did was go out and get three cats. He was supposed to be the man who had everything! Seeing these supple yet brutal creatures in person certainly leaves an imprint and makes you realize we all play a role in this world and how important it is to preserve what's precious.
Click here to see the entire photo set
Complete with gratuitous cub snuggling!
Center For Animal Research and Education
245 County Road 3422, Bridgeport, TX 76426